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Constitutional Law

Constitutional law is the body of law which defines the relationship of different entities within a state, namely, the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary. We've identified some articles that may be of interest to readers below.

Mkhwebane cannot order constitutional change

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s recommendation to amend the Reserve Bank’s constitutional mandate had nothing to do with her investigation into the apartheid-era Bankorp ‘lifeboat’, and was only aimed at stripping the Bank of its powers to maintain price stability, the bank said yesterday, according to a Business Day report. Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago, applied to the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) to review and set aside sections of Mkhwebane’s report on the lifeline granted to Bankorp, which Absa subsequently acquired.

Don't undermine Reserve Bank

SA should protect the independence of the Reserve Bank and must evaluate what effect the recommendations of the Public Protector to alter its mandate will have on the institution, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba says, according to a BusinessLIVE report. ‘I respect the right of the Public Protector to make whatever determination but I also support fully the independence of the South African Reserve Bank,’ Gigaba said a Bloomberg Television interview in London.

Judgment ends 20-year limit on sex offences

Allegations of sexual assault can be pursued at any time and are no longer restricted to 20 years‚ the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) ruled yesterday, according to a TimesLIVE report. Eight alleged victims of the late philanthropist Sidney Frankel‚ who accused him of assaulting them when they were children‚ have won their case to change the law that limited sexual offences other than rape to a prescription period of 20 years.

Johannesburg battles to re-home illegal tenants

The City of Johannesburg will not be able to meet the Constitutional Court’s requirement to provide alternative accommodation to people evicted from illegally occupied buildings, because it simply does not have enough space. According to a Mail & Guardian Online report, Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba said: ‘At the moment, we don’t have the capacity to accommodate people who would still be evicted.’

ConCourt ruling on evictions welcomed by LRC

The Legal Resources Centre has welcomed a Constitutional Court judgment which has implications for the conduct of courts in future evictions of occupiers, says a TimesLIVE report. The centre represented the Poor Flat Dwellers Association‚ a non-profit organisation formed in 2009 to resist the exploitation of flat dwellers‚ as a friend of the court in the case in which the Constitutional Court held that courts have an obligation to consider all relevant considerations before ordering an eviction‚ in cases where an unlawful occupier has apparently consented to his removal.

Judgment sets out courts' evictions obligations

Courts have an obligation to consider all relevant considerations before ordering an eviction‚ in cases where an unlawful occupier has purportedly consented to his removal. The Constitutional Court made this finding yesterday as it rescinded a 2013 order made by the High Court evicting 184 occupiers from a block of flats in Johannesburg. The decision has been described as momentous by the Socio-Economic Rights Institute (Seri)‚ which represented the occupiers, notes a TimesLIVE report.

SCA told Walus stripped of SA citizenship

The SCA, which is wrestling with an appeal against a Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) ruling in favour of bail for Chris Hani’s killer Janusz Walus, was told yesterday Walus had been stripped of his SA citizenship. ‘Representatives of the Department of Home Affairs confirmed it,’ Advocate Roelof du Plessis SC told Judges Christiaan van der Merwe, Jeremiah Shongwe, Mandisa Maya, Boissie Mbha and Ashton Schippers.

Another police vicarious liability case at ConCourt

The question of whether the Minister of Police can be held vicariously liable for a reservist in uniform who shot his girlfriend at dinner is to be heard by the Constitutional Court in August, according to a TimesLIVE report. Twice before the court has dealt with police criminality. In 2005 it held that the Minister was vicariously liable for the actions of three on-duty policemen who raped a stranded 20-year-old woman. And in 2011 the Minister was held vicariously liable for damages after the brutal rape of a 13-year-old by a policeman on standby duty.

Municipal debt issue argued in top court

By Juta and Company (Pty) Ltd Published on Wednesday, 24 May 2017
Constitutional Law Property Law
The Constitutional Court was asked yesterday to confirm the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) order last year that a new owner cannot be held liable for the water‚ rates and lights debts of the old owner or owners, notes a TimesLIVE report. The Tshwane and Ekurhuleni municipalities argue that the municipal debts belong to the property and municipalities can sell a house to recover the debt dating back up to 30 years.

Victims fight to change Criminal Procedure Act

The alleged sexual assault victims of the late philanthropist and stockbroker Sidney Frankel had their dignity violated by a section in the Criminal Procedure Act which prevents their complaints from being prosecuted after 20 years of the event. According to a TimesLIVE report, this is the view of Anton Katz SC‚ counsel for eight people who claim Frankel sexually assaulted them when they were between seven and 15 during the 1970s and 1980s.

ConCourt tackles women's rights in customary marriages

By Juta and Company (Pty) Ltd Published on Monday, 22 May 2017
Constitutional Law Family Law
The Constitutional Court reserved judgment last week in a confirmation hearing on the Limpopo High Court’s decision in the matter of Ramuhovhi and Another v The President of the Republic of SA. A Fin24 report says his case concerns the validity of section 7(1) of the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act (RCMA). Section 7(1) of the RCMA regulates the proprietary consequences of polygynous marriages entered before the Act came into force in November 2000.

Judges focus on discrimination in schools religion case

If one majority religion is practised in school assemblies‚ then any pupil who asks to miss the assembly is forced to say they are different. Advocate Johan du Toit SC was pressed on this in the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) as he defended six Afrikaans schools’ right to promote a Christian ethos‚ including Bible readings, at assembly, notes a TimesLIVE report.

Date set for Zuma secret ballot hearing

By Juta and Company (Pty) Ltd Published on Thursday, 04 May 2017
Constitutional Law Litigation
The Constitutional Court has declared 15 May as the day it will hear the application by opposition parties UDM and the EFF to compel a parliamentary vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma to be conducted by secret ballot, says a BusinessLIVE report. Zuma has opposed the application‚ saying a ruling by the court to effectively force Speaker Baleka Mbete to allow MPs to vote in secret would subvert the rights of the ANC in Parliament.

Land reform Bill unconstitutional – FMF

By Juta and Company (Pty) Ltd Published on Wednesday, 03 May 2017
Constitutional Law Litigation Property Law
The new land reform provisions contained in the Regulation of Agricultural Land Holdings Bill render the Bill unconstitutional and make it an exercise in redistribution rather than restitution as required by the Constitution, says the Free Market Foundation (FMF). In a statement yesterday, recorded on the Fin24 site, the Foundation said the Bill demonstrates government’s refusal to consider far more appropriate and effective measures to achieve land reform.

Journalists launch challenge to constitutionality of Rica

The amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism has launched a constitutional challenge to the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act (Rica), notes Legalbrief. In a report on the Mail & Guardian Online site, the applicant and leading investigative journalist Sam Sole, himself a victim of state eavesdroppers, notes that Rica serves as the basis for the lawful interception of citizens’ communications, ‘but we contend that there are fundamental flaws in the law and that various sections are inconsistent with the Constitution’.

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